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October 8, 2021 at 11:30 am · · Comments Off on SAVE THE DATE! January 20, 2022

SAVE THE DATE! January 20, 2022

MEREDA’s 2022 Annual Forecast Conference & Member Showcase will be held in-person at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

Same great program, new location with lots of elbow room!

Details for Registration and Member Showcase Exhibits to follow soon.  We will adhere to all CDC Covid safety guidelines.

September 28, 2021 at 6:00 am · · Comments Off on The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Puritan Medical COVID –Building Expansion (P2)

The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Puritan Medical COVID –Building Expansion (P2)

Each year, the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) recognizes some of the state’s most “noteworthy and significant” real estate projects, completed in the previous year. The exemplary projects from across the state, completed in 2020, not only embody MEREDA’s belief in responsible real estate development, but also exemplify best practices in the industry, contributing to Maine’s economic growth by significant investment of resources and job creation statewide.

This year, MEREDA honored projects from Portland to Pittsfield to Bangor, with each receiving special recognition at MEREDA’s 2021 Virtual Spring Conference on May 20th.

In a multi-part series exclusive to the Maine Real Estate Insider, we’ll provide an up-close look at the most notable commercial development projects of the past year that are helping to fuel Maine’s economy in terms of investment and job creation. MEREDA is proud to recognize responsible development based upon criteria including environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, difficulty of the development, uniqueness, social impact and job creation.

MEREDA’s 2020 Top 6 recipients include:

Rock Row Phase 1 Retail Center, Waterstone Properties Group (Westbrook)
82 Hanover Street, Port Property Management (Portland)
Hospice of Southern Maine, Zachau Construction / SMRT (Scarborough)
Solterra, Portland Housing Authority (Portland)
One Merchants Plaza, Sky Villa Properties (Bangor)
Puritan Medical COVID –Building Expansion (P2), Puritan Medical Products (Pittsfield)

Please join us this week in celebrating Puritan Medical COVID – Building Expansion (P2).

MEREDA:  Describe the building and project.

Puritan Medical Products:  As we approached April 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to escalate in the United States, and it became clear that there was a massive demand for more testing swabs.

Our goal was to double the production of foam-tipped COVID-19 testing swabs, so we reached out to Cianbro, who quickly developed a proposal for us. They provided fast-track, design-build services to convert a portion of a vacant mill building in Pittsfield, Maine, into a state-of-the-art medical device manufacturing facility in less than 10 weeks. Construction teams worked around the clock, seven days a week, to execute the delivery of the facility and meet the aggressive timelines.

However, as the project progressed, demands for testing swabs grew tremendously with no end in sight. After the start of production, we reached out to Cianbro for additional production space to meet demand. As a result, an additional 6,000-square-foot production expansion was completed in combination with customizing the previously completed expansion. This allowed us to install six additional automated machines, increasing our production capacity to 90 million foam-tipped swabs per month.

Project elements included:
• An ISO-8 cleanroom production space
• Office areas
• Locker room facilities
• Quality control laboratories
• Replacement of all HVAC, electrical and fire systems
• Low voltage wiring
• Site improvements

MEREDA:  What was the impetus for this project?  

Puritan Medical Products: Being one of only two major manufacturers of COVID-19 testing swabs in the United States, in April, we were tasked to develop a plan to double production to 20 million swabs per month by July 1. That was an aggressive timeline that required a significant expansion, and we knew how important it was that we meet that goal to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

MEREDA:  That sounds like quite a process.  How long were you in the planning stages before construction started?

Puritan Medical Products: Because of the quick turnaround time, we had to move through the planning stages swiftly. We initially reached out to Cianbro on April 19, 2020, and work began on the project on May 1. However, as the project grew, we had to revisit plans throughout the stages of the expansion to accommodate new goals as the number of COVID-19 cases continued to climb.

MEREDA:  Tell us about the most challenging aspect of getting this project completed.

Puritan Medical Products:  Beyond the tight timeline, the COVID-19 pandemic presented both the mission for the project and one of the biggest challenges. First, as the COVID-19 pandemic grew across the United States, new precautions and guidelines were developing daily. The project needed to continue to move forward to meet the production schedule, and we also had to ensure that the project’s team members remained healthy both on the job and at home.

Advancing the facility’s construction also required tremendous coordination, including sectioning off the building into work zones. As teams completed their work in one zone, they moved on to the next, enabling other teams to follow behind them. This sequential process allowed different work phases to be completed simultaneously in various zones throughout the building.

Though it was an expected variable as COVID-19 numbers rapidly increased, the increasing demand for swab production and corresponding scope growth forced us to stay flexible and adjust the plan to meet new demands.

The Cianbro team did an excellent job of overcoming all of these challenges, and we are continuing our partnership with Cianbro as we renovate a new manufacturing facility in Tennessee.

MEREDA:  Something unexpected you learned along the way was….

Puritan Medical Products: That it’s essential to be able to adapt. It’s something that businesses and organizations across the globe have learned throughout the pandemic, but manufacturing a product that has such a direct impact on healthcare during one of the most significant events in our lifetime has made adapting even more necessary for us at Puritan.

Also, while it wasn’t unexpected, something that undoubtedly exceeded all expectations was just how much this team accomplished in such a short amount of time. Their dedication and commitment to meeting the timeline while maintaining the highest level of quality were truly exceptional.

MEREDA:  Now that it’s complete, what feature of the project do you think makes it the most notable? 

Puritan Medical Products: While the modernized manufacturing space is top-of-the-line, and we couldn’t meet our goals without it, the most notable feature of the project is the result itself. Nothing compares to producing 90 million swabs every month to help save lives during a global pandemic. It reinforces the importance of the work that we’re doing, and it feels good to be part of the solution to help our country – our world – get back to normal.

September 24, 2021 at 2:24 pm · · Comments Off on MEREDA’s Next “Morning Menu” In-Person Breakfast Event is Scheduled for October 22nd.

MEREDA’s Next “Morning Menu” In-Person Breakfast Event is Scheduled for October 22nd.

Are we all ready to return to the office?  Join us on 10/22 for a discussion about the current status of the office environment with two leaders in the office market.

About the Event:

Holiday Inn By the Bay
88 Spring Street
Portland, ME  04101

October 22, 2021

Buffet Breakfast: 7:30-8:00 am
Program: 8:00-9:00 am

Join us in person on October 22nd as our Moderator, Craig Young, Partner & Broker at the Boulos Company, and MEREDA Vice President, discusses the current status of the office environment with two leaders in the office market, Paul Larkins, AVP, Real Estate Strategy and Projects of UNUM and Rick McKenney, Vice President of Sales at Creative Office Pavilion.

We will explore UNUM’s recent re-development of its Portland campus and how UNUM intends to have its workforce return to work – or not. We will also hear about new trends in office space design, furniture and work-from-home office arrangement.

** SAFETY PRECAUTIONS **

MASKS ARE REQUIRED: Due to the uncertainty with the Coronavirus Delta variant, and to protect the health and safety of our attendees and presenters, we request that ALL ATTENDEES wear a mask for the duration of the event, unless eating or drinking, and strongly encourage ALL ATTENDEES to be vaccinated.

A buffet breakfast will be available with the Holiday Inn By the Bay staff serving each guest. Upon arrival, please check in, proceed to the buffet while maintaining 6’ between other guests, and go directly to your table. Coffee will be located on each table.

We will continue to follow all State & Federal CDC guidelines and suggested protocols, and will respond accordingly. Updates will be posted on our website.

To Register and for more informationhttps://mereda.org/event/meredas-morning-menu-office-environment-102221/

Members:  $45 pp
Non-Members:  $55 pp
Prices increase $10 after 10/15

MEREDA’s Refund Policy:

Your RSVP is requested by October 15. Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after October 15.

MEREDA’s Morning Menu Breakfast Series is Sponsored by Norway Savings Bank

This event is co-sponsored by UNUM.

September 7, 2021 at 7:00 am · · Comments Off on The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on One Merchants Plaza

The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on One Merchants Plaza

Each year, the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) recognizes some of the state’s most “noteworthy and significant” real estate projects, completed in the previous year. The exemplary projects from across the state, completed in 2020, not only embody MEREDA’s belief in responsible real estate development, but also exemplify best practices in the industry, contributing to Maine’s economic growth by significant investment of resources and job creation statewide.

This year, MEREDA honored projects from Portland to Pittsfield to Bangor, with each receiving special recognition at MEREDA’s 2021 Virtual Spring Conference on May 20th.

In a multi-part series exclusive to the Maine Real Estate Insider, we’ll provide an up-close look at the most notable commercial development projects of the past year that are helping to fuel Maine’s economy in terms of investment and job creation. MEREDA is proud to recognize responsible development based upon criteria including environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, difficulty of the development, uniqueness, social impact and job creation.

MEREDA’s 2020 Top 6 recipients include:

Rock Row Phase 1 Retail Center, Waterstone Properties Group (Westbrook)
82 Hanover Street, Port Property Management (Portland)
Hospice of Southern Maine, Zachau Construction / SMRT (Scarborough)
Solterra, Portland Housing Authority (Portland)
One Merchants Plaza, Sky Villa Properties (Bangor)
Puritan Medical COVID –Building Expansion (P2), Puritan Medical Products (Pittsfield)

Please join us this week in celebrating One Merchants Plaza.

 

MEREDA:  Describe the building and project.

Sky Villa Properties:  One Merchants Plaza, a seven story Class A office building, was the first all concrete building of its kind in the Bangor area. Built in 1972, the new building was set in the heart of the Bangor business district, with iconic views of the Kenduskeag Stream and the Penobscot River. It was designed by Eaton Tarbell, a well-known Bangor architect.

Working with Bev Uhlenhake of Epstein Commercial Real Estate, David St. Germain of Sky Villa Properties. purchased the One Merchants Plaza property for $1.85 million, with a plan to invest approximately $2.2 million in renovations. In 2020 after a lot of good decisions and hard work, the building became the new headquarters to Haley Ward, Inc., formerly CES, Inc., after extensive renovations by David and his team.

Other tenants include the Bangor Daily News, UBS, and Wabanaki Public Health.

MEREDA:  What was the impetus for this project?  

Waterstone:  Growing Sky Villa Properties beyond its initial focus on residential properties within the Bangor, Brewer and Hampden areas was always a priority of David’s. After a few successful commercial endeavors in the area, he set his sights on One Merchants Plaza, with a desire to realize the building’s full potential by drawing new tenants through HVAC, aesthetics, and energy improvements.

MEREDA:  That sounds like quite a process.  How long were you in the planning stages before construction started?

Waterstone:  Business owners and entrepreneurs in Bangor are fortunate to have the City of Bangor’s Economic Development department as a resource and partner to help keep projects progressing. Tanya Emery and her team at the City recognized the importance of the having this building fully occupied and guided the permitting process so there were no surprises. The total time was around three – six months from the purchase and signed lease agreements to permitting and demolition.

MEREDA:  Tell us about the most challenging aspect of getting this project completed.

Waterstone:  Once David set his mind to purchasing One Merchants Plaza and committed to the extensive renovations, the pieces clicked into place. “The success of One Merchants Plaza could not have happened without the right people in place for things to work smoothly,” said St. Germain. “Our team of Haley Ward, Inc. (formerly CES), Bowman Constructors, Bowerbird Design Collaborative worked together throughout the construction process for a seamless project.”

MEREDA:  Something unexpected you learned along the way was….

Waterstone:  As a part of the due diligence with the property, St. Germain estimated that he could save significantly on energy costs through HVAC and lighting upgrades but was able to expound on the savings by tinting the windows. Denis St. Peter of Haley Ward did the legwork and investigated window tints that proved to be a tremendous savings in the efficiency of the building given the floor to ceiling windows. Speaking of Haley Ward another unexcepted surprise and very welcome was the growth of the company in 2020 and their leasing additional space on the fifth floor. They currently occupy 24600 sq ft out of the building total which is 54300 sq ft.

MEREDA:  Now that it’s complete, what feature of the project do you think makes it the most notable? 

Waterstone:  Over the last 10-15 years, Downtown Bangor has seen remarkable growth and revitalization. Adding over 100 employees to a business building that was not at maximum capacity prior to the purchase and returning it to the significant economic development catalyst helps highlight Bangor’s economic vitality. As St. Germain said, “This unique structure stands out in the City and helps the Queen City sparkle.”

August 17, 2021 at 7:00 am · · Comments Off on The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Solterra

The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Solterra

Each year, the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) recognizes some of the state’s most “noteworthy and significant” real estate projects, completed in the previous year. The exemplary projects from across the state, completed in 2020, not only embody MEREDA’s belief in responsible real estate development, but also exemplify best practices in the industry, contributing to Maine’s economic growth by significant investment of resources and job creation statewide.

This year, MEREDA honored projects from Portland to Pittsfield to Bangor, with each receiving special recognition at MEREDA’s 2021 Virtual Spring Conference on May 20th.

In a multi-part series exclusive to the Maine Real Estate Insider, we’ll provide an up-close look at the most notable commercial development projects of the past year that are helping to fuel Maine’s economy in terms of investment and job creation. MEREDA is proud to recognize responsible development based upon criteria including environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, difficulty of the development, uniqueness, social impact and job creation.

MEREDA’s 2020 Top 6 recipients include:

Rock Row Phase 1 Retail Center, Waterstone Properties Group (Westbrook)
82 Hanover Street, Port Property Management (Portland)
Hospice of Southern Maine, Zachau Construction / SMRT (Scarborough)
Solterra, Portland Housing Authority (Portland)
One Merchants Plaza, Sky Villa Properties (Bangor)
Puritan Medical COVID –Building Expansion (P2), Puritan Medical Products (Pittsfield)

Please join us this week in celebrating Solterra.

MEREDA:  Describe the building and project.

Portland Housing Authority: Located at 58 Boyd Street in East Bayside and aptly named for the nearby urban gardens and Italian community which was once there, Solterra (“sun and earth” in Italian) is a mixed-income, six-story building featuring 23 efficiency, ten (10) one-bedroom, thirteen (13) two-bedroom and nine (9) three-bedroom apartments. Solterra features a rooftop solar array, a community space (The Harvest Room) adjacent to the Boyd Street Urban Gardens, free WiFi service for residents, 23 automobile parking spaces, 28 secure bicycle spaces within the building, a laundry room, recycling and trash services, and, eventually, composting services. Solterra was modeled at 34% more energy efficient than a building meeting code requirement.

Solterra was one of two projects in Maine to receive a competitive grant from Efficiency Maine to install 145 rooftop solar panels. The 50-Kilowatt system allows enough savings to cover all common area electricity and free WiFi for all residents. 80% of the units are affordable to households earning below 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI). 20% of the units have no income restrictions. Rents range from $788 for an efficiency to $1,810 for a three-bedroom. 28 units have project-based rental assistance, meaning the resident only pays 30% of their income for the unit and the federal Housing Choice Voucher program covers the difference.

Solterra was able to safely provide needed employment for all those involved during its final phase of construction during the COVID-19 pandemic, when unemployment in Maine and nationally was at record highs. The $10 Million contract awarded to construction manager Wright-Ryan Construction kept dozens of Maine subcontractors employed during a challenging time. The larger economic impact will be helping the families that will only pay no more than 30% of their income toward housing costs, considered a benchmark of affordable housing. All utilities are included in the Solterra rent. The affordability allows residents a better chance at avoiding food insecurity, and health problems, both major issues in Maine today.

While the full social impact of Solterra remains to be seen, the project has already had a positive impact on the character of the East Bayside neighborhood. It has provided hope for many families who are seeking affordable rental housing in the City of Portland. And, Solterra has hopefully inspired trust in the city’s commitment to build forward-thinking, environmentally sustainable, energy efficient, accessible and beautiful affordable housing.

MEREDA:  What was the impetus for this project?  

Portland Housing Authority:  Solterra was designed to contribute critically-needed affordable units to the City of Portland’s housing stock, while also accommodating the local community’s social, physical and environmental needs, with accessibility, quality of life, durability and environmental sustainability as keystones to the design process. For example, the rooftop solar installation not only reduces the building’s environmental footprint, but also provides a crucial cost-savings, which partly subsidizes building-wide WiFi Internet so residents can remotely access work, educational resources, and a variety of support services. This includes telehealth services, which are provided through a partnership between Greater Portland Health and the Portland Housing Authority, but also early childhood education resources, literacy training, after-school activities, employment services and workforce training.

MEREDA:  That sounds like quite a process.  How long were you in the planning stages before construction started?

Portland Housing Authority:  Planning for Solterra was quite involved, in part so the project could capitalize on grant funding from Efficiency Maine’s Energy Community Demonstration Projects in Affordable Housing program and incorporate design elements to achieve high energy efficiency. Additionally, the site required extensive remediation of contaminated soil and ground stabilization with piles. The project was in the pre-construction phase of planning, design and securing financing for over two years.

MEREDA:  Tell us about the most challenging aspect of getting this project completed.

Portland Housing Authority:  We knew from the outset that the site was a Brownfield given the history of the Great Fire of 1869 in Portland. Removing contaminated soils on a site for future family housing was of critical importance. Through additional funding sources and careful coordination, the project closed on its construction loan after the site remediation was complete.

What made this especially challenging was the fact that the project had done geotechnical test pits and test borings, but the marine clay soils and depth to bedrock surprised our design and construction team. We needed to drill the piles that support the foundation up to 115 feet below grade versus the 75 feet that we had been expecting. This used up a large portion of our construction contingency fund.

MEREDA:  Something unexpected you learned along the way was….

Portland Housing Authority:  As mentioned, we learned an important lesson about the variability of Portland’s geology when it comes to foundation-setting. The actual depth to bedrock versus our expectations surprised our design and construction team, but ultimately this did not disrupt the project.

MEREDA:  Now that it’s complete, what feature of the project do you think makes it the most notable? 

Portland Housing Authority:  Maine has hundreds of urban Brownfield sites, contaminated from a past with less environmental regulations. Solterra is an example of Portland Housing Authority’s commitment to cleaning up and re-using sites within its portfolio that are under-utilized in order to create more rental housing during an affordable housing crisis. With assistance from City of Portland EPA Brownfields funding, there is one more clean, healthy site in Portland’s urban core.

Solterra not only provides safe, affordable housing, but also provides an indoor environment that is healthy for its residents. The building is designed with healthy building materials that have low-VOC or no-VOC (harmful chemicals). There is abundant continuous fresh air to each unit that is pre-heated with a Heat Recovery Ventilation system to save energy. These features, coupled with a robust services program, including a telehealth program through Greater Portland Health, makes the health of our residents a top priority.

August 3, 2021 at 7:00 am · · Comments Off on Highlighting the Construction Component of the 2021 MEREDA Index

Highlighting the Construction Component of the 2021 MEREDA Index

On May 20, Drew Sigfridson, SIOR, Managing Director at The Boulos Company, was a commentator for the Maine Real Estate & Development Association’s (MEREDA’s) 2021 MEREDA Index. Drew’s comments on the Construction Sector follow Economist Charles Colgan’s analysis for 2020. 

The MEREDA Index is a measure of real estate activity designed to track changes in Maine’s real estate markets. The Index is a composite of nine seasonally adjusted measures reflecting both new development and transactions involving existing properties and it covers both the commercial and residential markets statewide. The most recent edition covers the year 2020 and provides commentary on the Commercial, Residential, and Construction sectors. The MEREDA Index for 2020 is 113.3

THE CONSTRUCTION COMPONENT:  95.6

[Charles Colgan Analysis] “The construction employment Index was up 0.6% in 2020 over 2019. There was a sharp dip in the second quarter as the shutdowns took hold and the rules about safe working were being worked out. But employment quickly recovered in the second half of the year to pre-pandemic levels. Construction employment has shown relative stability to slight growth for several years, which the pandemic briefly, but only briefly interrupted.”

[Drew Sigfridson, SIOR, Managing Director]  “2020 was certainly a year for the history books, but it wasn’t all bad. We expected residential and industrial to be hot markets, and they were. And while things are selling, they’re going at a premium.  2020 drove the costs up for building materials, lease rates, and purchase prices across all sectors. But the unexpected twist during the pandemic was that the industrial market remained hotter-than-ever, with very little pause. This was driven by the need for shipping, warehousing, and manufacturing space. This need created a trend in new construction as well, which was a bit unpredicted. For years, southern Maine has had record low inventories of industrial space – yet, costs for new construction were always far greater than being able to purchase an existing building. With limited supply and increased demand, the delta between new construction and existing industrial properties has closed enough to move the needle for this sector. Buyers realized that if you’re going to pay a premium to buy and retrofit, you might as well just build something new and customized. If we use The Downs as an example, we have 80% of the lots committed in Phase 1 and Phase 2 of our industrial district (Innovation District), which all will result in newly constructed buildings.

When the pandemic hit, The Downs was a ‘blank canvas’ so we were already poised to meet market demand in the expected sectors of industrial and residential. Interest has been high, and despite uncertainty regarding Covid, companies are still making decisions relatively quickly. The same pace continues in the residential sector with units selling faster than we can build them. The entire country is now looking to places like Maine to balance out their home and work lives. Fortunately for us, The Downs’ master plan included all of the amenities needed to live, work, and play – which proved to be a coveted community trifecta during the pandemic.

It’s tough to say exactly what will happen with the construction industry moving forward; there is demand, macroeconomic factors, and interest rates to consider. With construction costs being high, if interest rates go up, it becomes even more difficult to make a project work. It is hard to predict how long all the variables will stay aligned. But if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that regardless of what industry you’re in, we are more resilient than we could have ever imagined, which is perhaps the most valuable lesson on the table.”

Roccy Risbara, Managing Partner at The Downs, contributed to this commentary.

Click here to view the 2021 MEREDA Index video and access the full report.

July 27, 2021 at 7:00 am · · Comments Off on The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Rock Row Phase 1 Retail Center

The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Rock Row Phase 1 Retail Center

Each year, the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) recognizes some of the state’s most “noteworthy and significant” real estate projects, completed in the previous year. The exemplary projects from across the state, completed in 2020, not only embody MEREDA’s belief in responsible real estate development, but also exemplify best practices in the industry, contributing to Maine’s economic growth by significant investment of resources and job creation statewide.

This year, MEREDA honored projects from Portland to Pittsfield to Bangor, with each receiving special recognition at MEREDA’s 2021 Virtual Spring Conference on May 20th.

In a multi-part series exclusive to the Maine Real Estate Insider, we’ll provide an up-close look at the most notable commercial development projects of the past year that are helping to fuel Maine’s economy in terms of investment and job creation. MEREDA is proud to recognize responsible development based upon criteria including environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, difficulty of the development, uniqueness, social impact and job creation.

MEREDA’s 2020 Top 6 recipients include:

Rock Row Phase 1 Retail Center, Waterstone Properties Group (Westbrook)
82 Hanover Street, Port Property Management (Portland)
Hospice of Southern Maine, Zachau Construction / SMRT (Scarborough)
Solterra, Portland Housing Authority (Portland)
One Merchants Plaza, Sky Villa Properties (Bangor)
Puritan Medical COVID –Building Expansion (P2), Puritan Medical Products (Pittsfield)

Please join us this week in celebrating Rock Row, Phase 1 Retail Center.

MEREDA:  Describe the building and project.

Waterstone: Rock Row is unlike any other development in the world. Situated on 110-acres, the $600 million Rock Row development in Greater Portland features more than two million square feet of mixed-use office, medical and research, retail, food hall, restaurants and residential space—all designed around a magnificent, 400-foot-wide natural stone quarry that is filled with water.

When complete, Rock Row will be the second largest retail and mixed-use development in New England. Highlights include:

• 400,000 sq. ft. of Modern Class-A Office Space, including Maine’s first Cross-Laminated-Timber (CLT) Office Tower
• 200,000 sq. ft. Medical & Research Campus anchored by New England Cancer Specialists
• 300,000 sq. ft. of Retail, Dining, Entertainment & Services featuring local, regional and national brands in an open-air, downtown-block shopping district
• 20,000 sq. ft. Food Hall featuring 550 seats, 15 stations, 7 spirit tasting rooms, live music, onsite brews and exciting events
• 20+ Restaurants ranging from cool-casual to chef driven
• 750 Distinctive Studio, One- & Two-Bedroom Residences

With more than six million guests expected to visit Rock Row each year, a key element of the project is Maine’s First CLT Office Tower—a stunning, 200,000 sq. ft., six-floor, cross-laminated-timber tower that promises to be one of the top office location in the Northeast, fueled by Rock Row’s modern mix of amenities and assets that drive talent acquisition and retention.

The tower’s unique CLT attributes promote workplace health and productivity while delivering 66% less energy costs, greater sound absorption/noise cancellation and unobstructed site lines to the quarry via 12’ floor-to-ceiling windows that cascade streams of natural light to nearly every work area.

““It’s not an overstatement to say that 100 Rock Row will be the most innovative, collaborative, and healthiest work environment in all of New England,” said Josh Levy, co-founding principal of Waterstone, the owners and developers of Rock Row. “More than an office address, 100 Rock Row is a business advantage that promotes business success. Bright places spark bright people. Fresh air promotes fresh thinking. Add the unobstructed quarry views, unmatched amenities and thought-sharing events at Rock Row and you get a place that people want to be at long after the workday is done.”

Another top attraction at Rock Row will be Maine’s Largest Meeting & Convention Center—an 8,200-person capacity, state-of-the-art venue that’s sub-dividable to host more than 200 public and private events year round, including performances from A-list artists through a partnership with LiveNation.

MEREDA:  What was the impetus for this project?  

Waterstone:  While factors like location and market-need certainly came into play, the quarry was an impetus for the project.

When Waterstone purchased the former quarry in 2017, it was being permitted for a big-box retail store by developers. Completing that process and taking “the easy route” was never an option for Waterstone. It was quickly determined that the natural features of the quarry should be leveraged to create a gathering place for all that was exciting and memorable; a destination that would make a positive impact on the lives of everyone who live, work, shop and visit in the region.

MEREDA:  That sounds like quite a process.  How long were you in the planning stages before construction started?

Waterstone: Unlike most developments where you get approval and build, this is a dynamic project that is unfolding in multiple phases. While that in itself poses challenges, it also offers great opportunities. For example, an area that was originally targeted for office and residential turned out to be the perfect location for the integrated Medical & Research Campus that is starting construction this fall. The City of Westbrook could not be better to work with as we navigate through the development design. We work with the mayor and city leaders very closely and have a tremendous amount of respect for the project, and each other.

MEREDA:  Tell us about the most challenging aspect of getting this project completed.

Waterstone: Having more than two-million square feet of mixed-use space available at Rock Row, we are absolutely obsessed with using each square foot the right way and fitting each square foot with the right tenant. Our goal isn’t to fill space, but to create amazing, unexpected and ongoing experiences at every turn. We want this to be an extension and elevation of life for all who work, live, shop and play here. So far, our efforts are paying off.

Phase One of Rock Row, which is community-retail focused, started in 2017and is nearing completion. This phase is reaching 100% lease capacity with tenants that include an 80,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art Market Basket supermarket (open), REI, Firehouse Subs, Big Fin Poke, The Paper Store (open), Chase (under construction), Chick-fil-A and Starbucks.

Other announced Rock Row tenants include a 122-room boutique Element Hotel by Westin, 12-screen Cinemark Theater, LIVE NATION Maine Savings Pavilion (open) and the previously-mentioned 200,000 sq. ft. fully-integrated Rock Row Medical & Research Campus, anchored by renowned New England Cancer Specialists/Dana Farber Cancer Institute (scheduled opening in late 2023).

MEREDA:  Something unexpected you learned along the way was….

Waterstone: From a community standpoint, we are continually amazed at how excited people are about Rock Row. Many of our social media posts have received several thousand likes and we are constantly fielding questions of interest, such as “when is REI opening” and “how much office space is available in the CLT tower”. Seeing our community get excited about Rock Row is something that excites us.

From a development standpoint, we discovered that Maine offers so much more than lobster rolls and natural beauty. This is a state that fosters innovative companies and breakthrough thinkers and has a rich history of leadership in commerce and industry. With more residents, workers and businesses leaving big cities and embracing the beauty and lifestyle of Maine, Maine is poised to flourish as an emerging business hub.

As Maine’s premier Innovation District, Rock Row will play a key role in supporting the state’s focus on emerging industries and economic growth by creating a supportive environment that helps people and businesses grow and succeed in every way. Rock Row’s rich mix of physical and networking assets—from educational events that spark growth and innovation, to public gathering spaces that invite collaboration—will combine to create a 24/7 community full of ideas, creativity, risk taking and enriched living. Rock Row will be the shining model of Maine’s new outreach as a “State of Innovation”.

MEREDA:  Now that it’s complete, what feature of the project do you think makes it the most notable? 

Waterstone:  We like to say there is “discovery at every turn” at Rock Row, so it’s hard to choose one notable element of the two-million-plus-square-feet development. Certainly, the quarry will be the most notable and memorable physical feature. Beyond the jaw-dropping “‘wow” of looking at it, guests will come from far and near to see the light and laser quarry spectacular that will be similar in quality to Super Bowl and Olympic ceremonies.

What’s also notable is the human energy that Rock Row sparks. This is a destination that excites all senses and invites interaction, from passively looking at art to more actively climbing rock walls. All lines between work, life, learning and play will be blurred at Rock Row, intentionally. People will come here to drop kids off at day care in the morning…work during the day…interact with colleagues at a sponsored event…shop during lunch…go to a restaurant after work…attend a concert on the weekend…bring the kids to skate or go sailing on the quarry…and so much more.

Our hope is that everyone will have a favorite element of Rock Row that will change from season to season. We want people to connect with each other, and with nature at Rock Row in a way that makes life fuller and better. That’s a big task, we know. But we want every member of the family to always want to be at Rock Row. And to think there’s no place in the world like Rock Row.

Visit www.rockrow.com for more information.

 

July 20, 2021 at 11:00 am · · Comments Off on Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) Re-Elects Brian Curley to its Board of Directors

Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) Re-Elects Brian Curley to its Board of Directors

PORTLAND, July 20, 2021 – Brian Curley, AIA, LEED AP, of Portland, and Senior Vice President, Business Practice Leader, Architectural & Structural, of CHA Consulting, Inc. (CHA) has been re-elected to the board of directors of the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA), a statewide organization of commercial real estate owners, developers and related service providers.

MEREDA is pleased to announce that longtime member Brian Curley, has been re-elected to its board of directors after a 2-year hiatus. Brian first joined the board in 2011 and served as a vice president, co-chair of the Conference Committee, as well as a member of its Executive Committee. Brian was twice recognized with MEREDA’s President’s Award in both 2014 & 2016.

Brian has more than 35 years of architectural experience specializing in corporate and interiors projects for colleges/universities, historic structures, housing, retail, and corporate offices. Brian has a special interest in historic preservation and expertise in complicated renovation/reuse projects that bring new life and energy efficiency to historic buildings. His expertise ranges from space planning and interior fit-ups to historic renovation and new office construction. Brian also works with CHA’s interior designers on corporate offices, renovations, and furnishings packages. His housing experience includes new and renovated multi-family housing of all types.

“We are ecstatic that Brian has accepted our invitation to return to the MEREDA board,” says Shelly R. Clark, Vice President of Operations for MEREDA. “Brian’s expertise, industry knowledge, and enthusiasm for MEREDA’s mission makes him a great addition once again”!

 

July 19, 2021 at 2:30 pm · · Comments Off on MEREDA’s First In-Person Event in 16 Months is Scheduled for September 14!

MEREDA’s First In-Person Event in 16 Months is Scheduled for September 14!

MEREDA’s Morning Menu Breakfast Event – Southern Maine Development Trends: If you Build it, Will They Come?

Make plans to join us in person on September 14, 2021 at the Holiday Inn By the Bay in Portland as we discuss recent and changing development trends for commercial and multi-family housing in York County with developers Tom Watson of Port Property Development and Amy Cullen of The Szanton Company.

About the Event:

Where:
Holiday Inn By the Bay
88 Spring Street
Portland, ME

When:
September 14, 2021

Time:
Breakfast: 7:30 – 8:00 AM
Program: 8:00 – 9:00 AM

Registering for this Event:
Members: $45 each | Non-Members: $55 each
Prices increase by $10 after September 7

Your RSVP is requested by September 7. Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after September 7.

For more information and to register, click here.

MEREDA’s Morning Menu Breakfast Series is Sponsored by Norway Savings Bank

 

July 6, 2021 at 7:00 am · · Comments Off on The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Hospice of Southern Maine

The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Hospice of Southern Maine

Each year, the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) recognizes some of the state’s most “noteworthy and significant” real estate projects, completed in the previous year. The exemplary projects from across the state, completed in 2020, not only embody MEREDA’s belief in responsible real estate development, but also exemplify best practices in the industry, contributing to Maine’s economic growth by significant investment of resources and job creation statewide.

This year, MEREDA honored projects from Portland to Pittsfield to Bangor, with each receiving special recognition at MEREDA’s 2021 Virtual Spring Conference on May 20th.

In a multi-part series exclusive to the Maine Real Estate Insider, we’ll provide an up-close look at the most notable commercial development projects of the past year that are helping to fuel Maine’s economy in terms of investment and job creation. MEREDA is proud to recognize responsible development based upon criteria including environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, difficulty of the development, uniqueness, social impact and job creation.

MEREDA’s 2020 Top 6 recipients include:

82 Hanover Street, Port Property Management (Portland)
Hospice of Southern Maine, Zachau Construction / SMRT (Scarborough)
Rock Row Phase 1 Retail Center, Waterstone Properties Group (Westbrook)
Solterra, Portland Housing Authority (Portland)
One Merchants Plaza, Sky Villa Properties (Bangor)
Puritan Medical COVID –Building Expansion (P2), Puritan Medical Products (Pittsfield)

Please join us this week in celebrating Hospice of Southern Maine.

MEREDA:  Describe the building and project.

Zachau Construction / SMRT:  The nonprofit organization Hospice of Southern Maine headquarters is a $6.75 Million, 14,500 SF building built by construction management company, Zachau Construction, and designed by SMRT Architects and Engineers, Portland-based architecture firm. The building is home to the HSM corporate and clinical teams, as well as, a location for training stimulations, grieving services, and a large community room for gatherings and education. Over 600 donors came together to raise the funds for the capital campaign of $6.6 Million to date. Previously located on Route 1 in Scarborough, this new location provides an energy-efficient facility designed to reduce Hospice of Southern Maine’s energy costs by approximately 96%, which creates a full return on their investment within 18 years.

MEREDA:  What was the impetus for this project?  

Zachau Construction / SMRT:  The mission of Hospice of Southern Maine is to provide compassion, care and comfort through the end of life. The nature of their programming, people who have terminal illness and wanting to have good quality of life towards the end creates a positive social impact on the communities and families they serve. This new building provides a location for their teams to gather, work together, grieve, train and organize to fulfill this mission. A notable feature in the building is a training room with two-way glass, providing a location for the team to learn and grow their skills in end-of-life care.

MEREDA:  That sounds like quite a process.  How long were you in the planning stages before construction started?

Zachau Construction / SMRT:  Almost 2.5 years of planning

MEREDA:  Tell us about the most challenging aspect of getting this project completed.

Zachau Construction / SMRT:  The project provided a unique opportunity to blend a welcoming, home-inspired environment for visitors in conjunction with an open, contemporary office space for their employees.  This was achieved by using building forms and materials that reflect the warmth and simplicity found in Maine and the weaving of colors and textures throughout the interior that soothe and comfort.

MEREDA:  Something unexpected you learned along the way was….

Zachau Construction / SMRT:  How to deliver a project during a pandemic. When we began this project, we couldn’t have anticipated what the last few months of building would entail for this project. The pandemic created challenges in delivery of materials and the workflow within the building. Despite the challenges, we were able to complete the project on time.

MEREDA:  Now that it’s complete, what feature of the project do you think makes it the most notable? 

Zachau Construction / SMRT:  The building utilizes solar and geothermal systems to supply 100% of the building’s energy needs with clean energy and will dramatically lower CO2 emissions. The building is predicted to be net positive and will transfer additional power produced by the PV panels to the Hospice of Southern Maine Gosnell Memorial House. By creating a building that is 100% self-sustaining, Hospice of Southern Maine, a non-profit organization, will be able to use its donations towards programs and staff instead of office facility overhead. The size and layout of the building also allow for the organization to expand its reach and ability to serve more families.